Somatic genetic variation (SoGV) may play a consequential yet underappreciated role in long-lived, modular species among plants, animals, and fungi. Recent genomic data identified two levels of genetic heterogeneity, between cell lines and between modules, that are subject to multilevel selection. Because SoGV can transfer into gametes when germlines are sequestered late in ontogeny (plants, algae, and fungi and some basal animals), sexual and asexual processes provide interdependent routes of mutational input and impact the accumulation of genetic load and molecular evolution rates of the integrated asexual/sexual life cycle. Avenues for future research include possible fitness effects of SoGV, the identification and implications of multilevel selection, and modeling of asexual selective sweeps using approaches from tumor evolution.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics